Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake discussed her proposed budget with members of the media on Wednesday. Patch will be looking at the budget more in depth to help readers understand how this impacts their lives. But in the meantime here are some highlights of what has been put forward so far.
- Operating budget: $2.3 billion (0.1 percent increase from fiscal year 2012)
- Capital budget: $766 million
- Currently, the city is rotating closures between firehouses. Under the mayor’s plan, three of those closures would become permanent. It is unknown what firehouses will be closed. Fire Chief Jim Clack is expected to announce that decision prior to the budget being presented to the Board of Estimates in April.
- The proposed budget also includes $3.8 million for property tax cuts in fiscal year 2013.
- The Bureau of Solid Waste will take over trash collection in city parks.
- The city intends to make a $2 million investment in completing the city high-speed broadband network.
- The proposed budget calls for consolidating the city’s 911 and 311 centers under the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology. Andrew Kleine, Baltimore’s Budget director, said that some of the uniformed staff currently at the 911 center could be moved to patrol.
- The budget contains a plan approved by the Baltimore City Council to close eight recreation centers. None of those centers are located in North Baltimore.
- The fiscal year 2013 budget is the fifth straight where the city has had to contend with revenue shortfalls. The city is trying to eliminate a predicted $48 million in the coming fiscal year.